MLS will cut the salaries of most of its headquarters employees by as much as 25% due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN.
Yahoo Sports was first to report the news.
The extent of the cuts will vary across the organization, with senior executives, including commissioner Don Garber and deputy commissioners Mark Abbott and Gary Stevenson, taking 25% reductions in pay. Middle managers will see their salaries cut between 10 and 20%, while entry level employees will not suffer any reduction in pay.
Employees were informed by the pay cuts on Tuesday morning.
The source added that currently there is no plan to furlough or lay off employees, and a hiring freeze is also in place.
It is not clear the extent to which the salary cuts are temporary, or if the employees will receive back pay if the salaries are restored to their former levels somewhere down the line.
MLS shut down after the weekend of March 8, the second weekend of the regular season. At present, the league is still hopeful of playing its entire 34-game campaign, and is scheduled to resume play on May 10. But that date is looking increasingly unlikely, with shelter-in-place orders in many of the league's cities extending at least until the end of this month. At present, there is a training moratorium until this Friday, but the expectation is that ban will be extended.
According to the source, the league has developed models in which a July start date would still allow for the full 34-game regular season to be played, with the MLS Cup final scheduled for either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19. But such a schedule would necessitate playing every Saturday and Wednesday, and there is concern that such a punishing slate of games would result in a deterioration in the quality of play.
Also unknown is the extent to which the salaries of club staff and players will be affected. MLS and the MLS Players Association recently agreed on the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement back in February, but one source said that the fine details have yet to be worked out, and the CBA has yet to be ratified by the players. At present, there is no force majeure clause -- which would allow for player salaries to be reduced in case of an event like a pandemic -- being discussed by either the league or the MLSPA.